Born: Aug. 18, 1986
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.
Residence: Las Vegas
Marital Status: Single
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women’s Bantamweight Champion and one of the most popular and successful females in the sport’s history, currently serves as an ambassador for the UFC and as a TV analyst for FOX Sports since retiring from fighting in November 2016.
Tate claimed the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title in stunning fashion eight months prior to retirement on March 5, 2016, defeating then-champ Holly Holm with a rear naked choke in the fifth round of UFC 196 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Tate, a fan favorite in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world, scored a takedown roughly midway through the final round, wrapped her arm around Holm’s neck and choked her opponent until she lost consciousness. Tate had been waiting for her shot at Holm ever since the latter beat the seemingly undefeatable Ronda Rousey, then-UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, at UFC 193 in November 2015. Holm had never lost an MMA fight until she fell to Tate at UFC 196, which also marked Tate’s fifth consecutive UFC victory.
A former Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight champion, Tate was known for her grapping ability, athleticism and determination. Her legendary rivalry with Rousey, which began with their March 2012 Strikeforce fight, was one of the most infamous in UFC history and in today’s sports world, credited by UFC President Dana White with bringing women’s MMA to the UFC and piquing national interest.
The 5’6” Tate gained an enormous fan following during her 2013 stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate on FS1, a reality MMA show pitting two teams of male and female bantamweight fighters living and training together as they vied for the “The Ultimate Fighter” title and a lucrative UFC contract. Rousey and Tate served as the first-ever female coaches and mentors for the show, which welcomed female fighters to the series and the UFC house for the first time since its inception in 2005. Tate and Rousey’s legendary rivalry was showcased throughout the series and garnered national attention. At the conclusion of the season, Rousey and Tate faced off for the women’s bantamweight title, with Rousey defeating Tate via submission (armbar).
Training out of Las Vegas, the woman nicknamed “Cupcake” for her love of the sweet treat fought professionally from 2007 through November 2016. Upon retiring in 2016, Tate held a 18-7-0 record in her professional MMA career and a 5-4-0 UFC record.
Born and raised in Tacoma, Wash., the self-admitted tomboy wrestled on the Franklin Pierce High School boys’ wrestling team beginning with her freshman year and continuing through graduation, attracted by its fast-paced, aggressive competition. In 2005, she won the Washington state women’s high school championship as a senior. The only female on the team, she also won the Coach’s Award her senior year.
Shortly thereafter, while attending Central Washington University, Tate joined an MMA sports club at the university run by Bryan Caraway, her trainer and boyfriend.
EARLY FIGHTING CAREER:
Tate accepted her first amateur MMA fight in March 2006, in which she beat Muay Thai specialist Elizabeth Posener. Tate went on to post a 5-1 amateur MMA record before turning pro.
PROFESSIONAL MMA CAREER:
Her professional MMA debut came in November 2007 at the one-night HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix tournament. She defeated Jan Finney by decision after four rounds of grueling battle. During the course of the next two seasons, Tate recorded multiple wins in organizations such as CageSport MMA and Freestyle Cage Fighting (FCF). In 2009, she won the FCF Women’s Bantamweight championship, marking her first MMA title and laying the foundation for tremendous success in Strikeforce.
While competing in Strikeforce, Tate earned the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight championship and was the 2010 StrikeForce Women’s Bantamweight Tournament winner. Her notoriety grew in 2011 when she became the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion by defeating Marloes Coenen.
Her first defense of her 2011 Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight championship was expected to be against Sarah Kaufman; however, Rousey, a new contender in Strikeforce, lobbied for the matchup to take place between herself and Tate to garner more media and fan attention. Rousey subsequently was named Tate’s first challenger, and the fight was highly publicized in the months preceding it. Rousey, after defeating her first four Strikeforce opponents, faced Tate on March 3, 2012, marking the then-rare occasion of women being featured in an MMA card’s main event. Tate lost the bout, televised on Showtime, by submission (armbar) at the end of the first round after resisting the armbar for several minutes, but bounced back in August to defeat Julie Kedzie.
Tate officially joined the UFC in February 2013 following Strikeforce’s fold. In April 2013, she made her UFC debut, taking on Zingano in The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale, which marked the second women’s MMA matchup in the UFC and produced the coach for The Ultimate Fighter 18. Tate lost to Zingano but later replaced her on The Ultimate Fighter 18 after Zingano sustained an injury. Prior to the fight, it was announced the winner of Tate vs. Zingano would receive a title fight against Rousey, who had been named the inaugural UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion when Strikeforce, owned by UFC’s parent company, dissolved.
Tate and Rousey met in a rematch of their March 2012 Strikeforce fight at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013, with Rousey again defeating Tate via armbar in the third round. However, Tate bounced back in her third UFC fight on April 19, 2014, defeating Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision in the co-main event at UFC on FOX: Werdum vs. Browne, marking her first UFC victory. Tate then squared off against Rin Nakai at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson on Sept. 20, 2014, again winning via unanimous decision for her second UFC victory in four fights.
Her third consecutive UFC win came at UFC 183 on Jan. 31, 2015, when she faced Sara McMann, an Olympic wrestling medalist. Stunning many in the MMA world, Tate out-grappled the skilled wrestler for the majority of the third round to win by majority decision. Afterward, FOXSports.com declared Tate had “proven to be the top fighter in the world at 135 pounds outside of the champion.”
Following her win over Jessica Eye on July 25, 2015, at UFC on FOX: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2, Tate expected the chance to fight for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title, but that opportunity instead was given to Holm. Tate’s next chance came March 5, 2016, when she faced and defeated Holm for the belt, a showing which earned Tate “Performance of the Night” honors.
Tate was poised to defend her hard-earned title four months later in Las Vegas, but in a stunning defeat, she lost to Amanda Nunes July 9 at UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. The loss, via rear-naked choke at 3:30 in the first round, snapped a three-fight winning streak for Tate, who admitted later Nunes had caught her off-guard. Tate suffered a broken nose as a result. Nevertheless, she was ranked No. 1 in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division behind Nunes following the fight.
Four months later at UFC 205 in November 2016, Tate proved that, in addition to her skills as a brilliant fighter, she also was a remarkable coach. In the historic card held Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden, Tate lost to Raquel Pennington, her former protégé on FS1’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” Tate was defeated in a unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, to the woman she mentored as coach of Team Tate during the reality show’s 18th season. Immediately following the fight, Tate shocked the MMA world when she announced that UFC 205 would be her final fight at the sport’s top level. However, her future plans didn’t include a complete exit from the UFC but rather a shifting of her role within the sport to that of an ambassador for the UFC and an analyst for FOX Sports.
OTHER AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS:
A skilled grappler, Tate won a national grappling championship at the 2008 World Team Trials and a silver medal at the 2008 FILA World Grappling Championship.
Tate also earned a host of accolades and recognitions, including being voted “Female Fighter of the Year” in 2011 by World MMA Awards; 2012 “WMMA Fight of the Year” by BJPenncom; 2012 “Rivalry of the Year” versus Rousey by HOV-MMA.com; 2013 “Fight of the Year” versus Rousey by AwakeningFighters.com WMMA Awards; and 2013 “Fight of the Year” versus Rousey by BloodyElbow.com.
OUTSIDE THE OCTAGON:
Tate recently launched a YouTube channel in which she features videos of her adventures since stepping outside of the Octagon. Her favorite features include workout tips, cooking videos and snippets of her podcast, “The Miesha Tate Show Presented by Hunt Brothers Pizza.” As host of “The Miesha Tate Show Presented by Hunt Brothers Pizza” podcast, which can be found HERE, she chats with intriguing people she finds inspiring, ranging from celebrities to athletes, thought leaders and moguls.